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JAN 3  AUDIO-VIDEO:  NEW YEARS “MAKE YOUR TIME ON EARTH COUNT FOR ETERNITY”

Happy New Year!  A New Year…A Whole New Beginning…So…Have You Considered What is Going to Change for You in 2021?  More Than a New Year’s Resolution!

In What Will You Invest Your Time…What Will Be Your Priorities?  Will they Be the Same as Last Year…Or Will There Be Change? Do YOU Have a Life Plan for 2021?

Think About It…We’re all given the Same Number of Minutes each Day…And in Christ, We’re All Given the Same Goal in this life—To Become More Like Jesus.

 

Have You Considered What it Means to Be More Like Jesus?

  • If I were to describe Jesus in One Word, it would be the Word…UNSELFISH. 
  • With that said, the Goal of the Christian Life is learning how to become more and more UNSELFISH…Because to be Unselfish is LOVE—and Jesus is LOVE.

And Like Jesus…For Us to Love Others We Must First Deny Our Selfish Wants and Goals and Share the Good News that God Loves Them and then Unselfishly Put them First.

  • Hebrews 6:10 says, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

 

Our Reward in Heaven is going to be Based on what We did Here on Earth.  

  • One day, we’re all going to stand before God, and he’s going to say, “What did You Do with What You Were Given?” Made Money?  Had Fun?  Retired & died”?

We Were Put On Earth for More Than That!  God Created Us to Live Unselfishly and Give Ourselves Away for Others and to Build the Kingdom of God. 

  • As We Do, We will be able to say to God, “I gave it all, Lord. I’m laid bare. Everything I have and am, I gave it away for the Gospel.”
  • And then We will Hear Him say, “Welcome Home! My Good and Faithful Servant.”
  • But First We Have to Make a Choice…A Life Plan that Put Christ First

Romans 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This Scripture Passage Challenges Us to Make A Choice. 

  • Continue to Embrace the Behaviors, Customs and Goals of this World…OR…We Let God Transform Us into Our Persons that He Created Us to Become.

 

When We State It This Way…It Doesn’t Seem Like a Hard Choice…I Mean…Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Transformed by God? 

 

However…Change. Is Not Always Fun…So, Most People do Not Like Change. But…For the Christian Transformation is Not a Choice…Being a True Christian Will Require Letting God Change Us!

 

These days, the idea of ‘Necessary Change’ is Not Popular. There are many who want to claim Christianity without having to actually live a Christ-like Lifestyle.

  • It’s Not Enough to just Claim to Believe or Say that You’re a Christian. 
  • There should be Evidence in Your Life that You Truly Follow Jesus. 
  • There Has to be a Change…You Have to be Transformed.

Yet So Often We find it Extremely Difficult to Resist the Influence of the World.

  • Almost without knowing it, We Absorb Ideas, Attitudes, and Habits that Keep Us Stuck in Our Old, Reactive Ways.
  • Jesus says, “Don’t Worry.” But You Can’t Sleep Because of Anxiety.
  • Jesus says, “Love Your Neighbor.” But You’re to Busy with Our Own Agenda or maybe Concerned that the Wrong Sort of Person has Moved in Next Door.
  • Jesus says, “The Truth Will Set You Free.” But You Can’t help Thinking that “Little White Lies” Can Make Everything Easier.

Paul is saying that Transformation Begins with Changing the Way We Think.

  • Your thoughts Generate Your Feelings, and Your Feelings Generate Your Behaviors. 
  • If You want to Live and Act the way God Wants You to Live…You Must Begin by Thinking Differently.

 

If You Will Change the Way You Think…You Will Change The Way You Live!  

  • Your Heart Attitude Will Determine Your Life’s Actions!
  • Your World Outlook Will Determine Your Life’s Outcome!!
  • You Don’t Plant Apple Seeds and Get Tomatoes…Likewise, You Don’t Plant Bitterness and Get Love. 
  • You Don’t Plant Criticism and then Get Encouragement from Other People.

Gal 6:7 Do Not be Deceived: God Cannot be Mocked. A Man Reaps What He Sows.” 

Whatever You Plant is What You’ll Harvest. 

    • If You Plant in the Soil of Your Sinful Nature…You’ll Harvest Destruction. 
  • But if You Plant in the Soil of Your Spiritual Nature, Which was Imputed to You When You Received Jesus Christ as Your SaviorYou’ll Bear Fruit and Harvest Joy, Peace and an Everlasting Life.

 

IN FACT…Gods Word Make it Clear that Our Sins Will Affect to the 3rd & 4th Generations.   

  • When You’re Angry and You Lose Your Temper with Your Kids…You’re setting them up to Lose their Temper with Their Kids…and their kids. 
  • Our Sins are Perpetuated in our families for Multiple Generations. 

 

You’ve Got to Choose to Change the Way You Think. And when You Change the Way You Feel…It Changes the Way You Act.   

  • As You Plant in Your Spiritual Nature…God Will Reap Amazing Fruit in and Through Your Life.

 

SO…Knowing this…What Will Change for You in 2021? I Am Not Talking About Some New Years Resolution…What are you going to Sow in 2021?    What will be Your Priority in 2021?

  • Do You have a Life Plan for 2021? [How You’ll Invest Your Time-Talents-Treasure]

Rom 8:8-9 says, “Those who are in the realm of the flesh CANNOT please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they DO NOT belong to Christ.” 

Luke 17:33, “Whoever tries to keep their life WILL lose it, and whoever loses their life WILL preserve it.” 

In Matthew 16:24-25 we read, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple MUST deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” 

These Verses say that the Flesh CANNOT Please God…And Whoever Loses their Life for Christ WILL Preserve or Save It…And Whoever Wants to Be My Disciple MUST Deny Themselves!

  • This is NOT a Matter of Simple Choice…It is an Ongoing Process of Dying to Self.

2 Peter 1:5-7 describes Dying to Self as an Ongoing Process. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  

Now, I’ve Never Seen a Person go from Self-Centered Living and Old Ways of Thinking to Adopting All of the Fruits of the Spirit Overnight…After 51 Years–I’m Still Working on it!

So as We Enter 20-21…The Question for You and Me is Are We Putting Jesus First?

  • QUESTIONS>>>What is Your Passion? What Really Excites You? 
  • What Provokes Your Interest, Stimulates Your Thoughts and Motivates your Life? 
  • Is it Your Job? Maybe Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend? 
  • Possibly it’s Your Spouse or Your Grandchildren. 
  • Maybe it’s Your Favorite Team, Your Musical Interests, Favorite Food, or Hobby. 

Here is what I have found…Whatever it is, this Enthusiasm for Something on Earth really isn’t worth making it the “Center of what You are Living For”!

FACT: If We Want To Live the Life God Intended Us to Live…We Must Come to See that Earthly Things Must Have a Secondary Importance to Us Or They WILL Be A HINDRANCE to Our Relationship with God. 

  • I Could List a Hundred things that Hinder Our Relationship with God…But I am Sure You have Those that Challenge You in Your Mind Already!

 

Hebrews 12:1 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”.

Colossians 2:8, See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

By Now You may be wondering, “If I Am To Put Jesus First in My Life…How Can I Actually do This?” God’s Word Provides the Answers…He Gives Us the Foundation For a Christian Life Plan!   …Gods Life Plan Includes…

First, that Jesus Must be Intentional…We Must Deliberately Determine to Put Jesus First in All Things. It is a Constant Decision of Your Mind and Heart. 

Paul says in Col 1:18: And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  [Preeminence]

Daily, We Need to Ask Ourselves Does Christ Have Preeminence In My Life?  If we do, it will have a profound effect on how we order our lives.

Second, do You Recognize that Jesus is Your Very Life? COL 3:1-4 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who Is Your Life, appears then you also will appear with him in glory”.

In Philippians 1:21 Paul declared, “For to me, to live is Christ”.  

For Me…I Challenge Myself Continually…Is Jesus Truly My Life? Is Jesus My Passion, My Focus…Is Jesus the Love of My Heart?  It is Not Always Easy to Say Yes…This is Why We Must Encourage each Other Daily in the Lord!

Third, To Make Christ Preeminent in 2021…We Must Consciously Keep Seeking God, His Kingdom, and His Will…FIRST! 

  • Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
  • This means that Jesus is Not to be Second…Third, or Fourth! 

 

The Honest Question Each of Us Must Ask…“Is Jesus My Sincere Purpose in Life?” 

 

Now Listen…If Jesus is First…He Will Interrupt Every Part of Your Lives!

  • You Will Need to Be Eternally Focused…Not Earthly Focused!
  • Jesus Will Ask You to Put Him Before Any Human Relationship? 

 

The Lord Jesus Declared He Will Accept No Rivals for Our Affection.  Matthew 10:37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

 

This is Not Hard to Understand…But Boy…It Can be So Hard to Practice. 

  • We Know that God Wants Us to Love our Families Supernaturally!  
  • But No one, Not even Our Families, are to take the Place of the Lord Jesus! 
  • Jesus says, If We Place Anyone Before Him…We are Unworthy to be His Disciple. 

 

KEY TRUTH: When Our First Love is Jesus and We Put Him in First Place…Then We are Able to Love Our Families and Friends with His Agape [Sacrificial] Love.

 

In Addition…When Jesus is First in Your Life…

    • It Will Change How You Invest Your Time… We all have 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. And When Christ is First…It Will Change Your Time Priorities! 
  • And When Jesus is Your Priority…It Will Change How You Invest Your Money…Your Treasure…
  • God Loves to test Us in this area Because it can be one of the Hardest things to do.  When Jesus is in First Place…Where You Invest Your Treasure Will Change
  • When YOU Honor God with ALL YOU Have…HE WILL HONOR YOU!
  • Bottom Line You Cannot Out Love the Lord and You Cannot Out Give the Lord!

In 2021 I Encourage You to Embrace the Wisdom of Mark 12:30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength 

The Perfect Life Plan is This…If You Will Love Jesus with All of Your Heart…If You Will Serve Jesus with All that You Have…If You Obey Him with All of Your Being…YOU Will be Putting Jesus First in All Things. 

As I Said Earlier:  Your Heart Attitude Will Determine Your Life’s Actions!  And Your World Outlook Will Determine Your Life’s Outcome!!    When It Comes to Your Life Plan…

 

 POINT: Your Actions Are The Barometer Of Your Devotion To Jesus. 

 

May 2021 Be A Year of Change for Christ for Each of Us.